Tuesday, 29 December 2009
This picture of me with two of my three grand-daughters was taken on Christmas Day. I think the picture tells its own story ...
Isabel is four and is wearing her Disney Fairy dressing up outfit; don't ask me which fairy because I can't remember, only that I saw rather more of this character than I really required during the holiday. Isabel insisted on being addressed by her fairy name the entire time, and I think I have blocked it out as a result!!
Amelia is 9 weeks old and did start the day in a red party dress, but this went the way of all flesh owing to a milk related incident, so here she is in her Cath Kidston(esque) sleepsuit. Granny has gone for the classy look and is wearing grey silk by Sainsburys, with pearls (also Sainsburys). And in case you're wondering what happened to grand-daughter no.3, here she is! This is Molly (almost 3) wearing her Christmas tiara. I'd taken mine off by then ....
Molly having a bout of gastric upset didn't spoil the day at all, except when she needed her nappy changing - at which everyone tried to be somewhere else!! Isabel being a fairy got mildly tiresome, but otherwise she was adorable, and colicky episodes from baby Amelia didn't dampen our enthusiam for cuddling her (much).
Hope you and yours had as much fun as we did, and that 2010 will be your best year ever!!
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Not much time for crafting around here - but I am keeping busy with activities like this!! Help yourself to one or two if you're passing .... my hand slipped a bit with the brandy in the mincemeat so they rather refresh the parts other mince pies don't reach!!
The house is filling up with daughters, and the grand-daughters arrive very soon, so shan't have a minute to myself for a few days ... but HAPPY CHRISTMAS to (both!) my readers and all my wishes for a joyful New Year. Because its a special time of year I have got a bottle of Jack Daniels and I intend to become very good friends with him indeed!! (I normally get supermarket own brand whisky, but this is a treat).
Back soon with pictures of our festivities .....
Monday, 14 December 2009
Don't hate me please, but I'm really organised for Christmas this year! I even sat down yesterday to make the covers for the Christmas book I like to make each year. Mind you, just in case I don't get any good pictures I haven't actually put the date on the cover yet ... I should probably explain that Christmas isn't just one day in our house. My daughters (and 3 grand-daughters) all gather at our house, so we have visitors for about a week - which is wonderful but usually totally exhausting. Still, last year's book (see below) is already a treasure, so it is worth doing.
This will be just a small book 8 x 5" but I like to make something which can hold daft things like jokes out of crackers and other little mementos, as well as pictures. I'll use the Bind it All to hold it all together when its done, and last year's book had ribbons recycled from packaging and items from crackers fastened to the wires as well. The papers are My Minds Eye and the holly is some I made from Fimo years ago, to which I've added Stampin Up Crystal Effects (brilliant stuff) both for protection and to make them nice and shiny. Watch this space for the finished item in January, and here is last year's below!
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
I love making mini books so recently signed up to do the Confessions class over on Big Picture Scrapbooking, where they have some lovely workshops on offer. This one involves thinking a lot about the quirky aspects of your personality, maybe why you do those odd things that drive you (and other people) crazy! I thought it would be something my daughters could one day inherit and remember me by .... not that I'm planning on going anywhere yet!!
The covers are 6" x 10" and the pages will be slightly smaller. I'm using the K & Co Sola range of papers so the whole book will co-ordinate (I was brought up on making everything to match and can't quite get over it ...). I was going to paint the chipboard swirls but they looked so exactly right as they are that I didn't bother! The book will be spiral bound on the Bind It All when the pages are done, but at the moment I'm still thinking about what the subjects will be, so watch this space .....
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
This is my second attempt at patchwork, a lap quilt made in colours to go with my sofa. For very cold days I have a fur blanket to snuggle under (this is a large, old, COLD house!) but the rest of the time I'll be using this. It was a very simple pattern - way simpler than the first one I chose to tackle, but I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I had intended to make a couple of twin bedspreads but beginning to wonder if these are really needed - DH would only throw his on the floor because he gets too hot ... and the cats would sleep on mine!
Also been having a visit from delicious new grand-daughter - ah if they would only stay like this!! She's so beautiful (reminds me of her mother at the same age), and quite a placid little soul. I'd forgotten how fiercely you love them when they're so tiny ......
Thursday, 19 November 2009
I think I'd forgotten how much I love doing ATCs until I made these for a swap on UK Scrappers. As you can see I was back in vintage mode (so what's new I hear you ask)! Still not quite firing on all cylinders so please don't ask me about which collage sheets I used etc., but the one on the left is a distress ink background which I overstamped. I also antiqued the brass charm - it was a bit too brassy!! The other one uses a background from a collage sheet and my new Martha Stewart lacy punch. I still have the feeling that this one needs something, just couldn't figure out what!!
Thursday, 12 November 2009
I finally feel as if I've recovered from attending the NEC Hobbycrafts show last Saturday (or maybe not ...)! I love these big events and look forward to them all year, although we normally go on the opening day Thursday - which we thought was busy enough. This year we had to go on the Saturday and all I can say is never again because it was absolutely hideous, and Health & Safety would have had a fit if they'd seen the overcrowding!
Walking with my trusty zimmer frame meant I could hardly penetrate the crowds, let alone get into a lot of the stalls, and it (almost) took the pleasure out of shopping! Didn't get very much in the end, not least because of being unable to get in the busiest places. I actually bought quite a lot more than this, but most of it was for our monthly scrapbook group and not actually for me!!
Monday, 9 November 2009
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
I'd like to introduce my new friend Mary Jane (just finished her yesterday). She's very good company, always takes my side, and approves of everything I do - although she does give me some very knowing looks if I'm misbehaving ....
Isn't she sweet? I bought the kit about 3 years ago and finally the other day, deciding that I was in a sewing mood I set to work, and enjoyed myself so much.
The pattern called for stitching a lace-up effect on her boots, but I couldn't resist adding these little buttons instead.
I foresee a long and happy friendship ahead of us - we seem to be at one on any number of subjects, in fact she shares my opinions even on the dreaded politics and religion front! Funny that ....
Saturday, 31 October 2009
I am just crazy about birdhouses, and rarely come back from my visits to the USA without another one to alter. This is just a tiny one at 4" tall and I originally did it all pretty in pink and green, but although I liked it the more I looked at it the less it seemed like me.
So I gave it the grungey vintage treatment and now I like it even more! You will spot Distress Crackle paint on the eaves and perch, not to mention all kinds of stamped and collage sheet images. You can see it very well, but the wording around the opening says "Take Your Wings and Fly". I did the sides with wood effect paper and rubbed all the edges with chalk ink to distress it, and finally gave the finished product a coat of Mod Podge to protect it. If I say so myself, I think its CUTE!
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
I sat down yesterday to make some ATCs but ended up producing this instead - and in my favourite vintage style too! It's been so long since I did much in the altered art line, I was beginning to think inspiration had deserted me. However, after a dry spell, it would appear to be back! This piece is about 4.5" x 4" and is based on a wooden block Linda gave me for my birthday.
I painted it with toffee brown acrylic and then added a paper of Basic Grey paper to each side (don't you just love their grungey papers?). I had this idea not so much about the work/life balance thing that everyone seems to be talking about these days, but the separation which often exists between work life and home life - well it did for me anyway! So the front is about home and family and the reverse is to do with offices and work. I'm SO pleased to have made anything at all, let alone something I actually like!
Most of the elements are from various collage sheets, although the little house on the front is a stamp from Invoke Arts, and the swirly bits are also a stamp. I made the key on the reverse from Delight Clay and painted it with metallic black, then rubbed it with bronze to provide an accent.
Monday, 19 October 2009
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Chapter 18 has been going rather well, but this does mean that I don't get much time left over for doing arty stuff!
I did however manage this homage to Cath Kidston, in my altered tissue box. We recently bought some very pretty bedding which is sort of son of CK (actually it's V & A Collection) and I was looking at the pattern and thinking "I've got a stamp just like that". So I used whatever I could find to make something in harmony with the design and am delighted with the result. It might need a layer of Mod Podge just to seal it.
Now ... back to Chapter 18, in which our heroine realises she is pregnant ...
Thursday, 1 October 2009
Still trying to make a felt brooch I actually like enough to give as a gift ... I continued working on the felted jumper I shrank in the wash (deliberately I should add)!! I took some recycled silk sari yarn, undid it a bit from its twist, and then felted it into the background fabric.
Then I threaded my sewing machine with gold and stitched over it - I used a herringbone stitch and just sort of did spirals over the silk yarn
Finally I added an assortment of beads. I still don't think I like the results very much, but this is definitely an improvement on my first efforts, so maybe it just takes time and patience. I've got the time but am not sure about the patience ....!!
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Linda told me I had to put this on my blog! I've seen some wonderful felt brooches around and about and fancied having a go at making one. The felt is a jumper of my daughter's which I rescued from the charity shop bag because a) it was wool, and b) I absolutely LOVE the colour. I put it through the hot wash and it came out shrunk enough to fit a toddler, since when I've been working on pieces of it. I'm not actually going to show you attempt one (too embarrassingly bad) but no.2 above is an improvement. I added a panel of silk taffeta and explored some of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine.
After adding another panel, velvet this time, I took it downstairs and had a go at hand beading and embroidering it. This is the part I'm less pleased with - perhaps I should have had a more definite pattern in my mind for the beading, I just did it randomly and I'm rather afraid you can tell! I don't see it as finished, but am resting it for a while in the hopes that inspiration might strike. What I want to do is how do you do beading "properly" and is there a book I can learn from? Answers on a postcard please ....!!
Monday, 21 September 2009
I'm really enjoying this project, and it will be good to have a solid reminder of all the things I hope I've learned along the way. I should add that the book is relatively small, about 5 x 7 and will be spiral bound when it's complete.
Friday, 18 September 2009
I have no idea why I love working in brown vintage style like this - I just do. I've been writing all day and this was my way of relaxing ...
Monday, 14 September 2009
I altered the door itself, giving it a posh portico and adding a number, and the grumpy little girl on the step is one of my favourite PW images. Then I couldn't resist added over-sized ivy creeping up the wall and touches of grass. It's quirky but fun!
Her name is Polly and she's standing on Granny's doorstep, having run away from home because mummy is cross. She's rather hoping that Granny will have biscuits and a big hug for her ....
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Friday, 11 September 2009
This is turning out to be a really special project for me, particularly since I'm too busy with other stuff at the moment and not getting enough time just to make art. Doing the journal means I have to take time every day to reflect on my life and produce another page, and without it I think I'd be getting frazzled!
We live in a beautiful old house which is desperately cold in the winter, and my heart sinks a bit as we get into September. We'd hoped to have secondary double glazing in the main rooms by now, but this has had to go on the back burner, so we're in for yet another winter of huddling in thermal vests and thick sweaters. Hey ho, it's still a beautiful house and I feel lucky to live here. Maybe it will be a mild winter??
I was so busy dreading the cold days to come that I forgot to notice the mellow beauty of this time of year ... this is a leaf from a vine which grows outside in a corner of the garden. You can eat the grapes and it amazes us every year. It's colours are so beautiful in Autumn, and of course I love this vivid pink, so this is what my page was about .... not forgetting to notice the beautiful.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
I'm really enjoying the journal project so far, and this is my page from 3rd September. I like it because it's quite simple and subtle, which actually suits what I was trying to say very well. The background is a K & Co paper from the Blue Awning range, which I LOVE. I was prowling around the garden looking for photo opportunities (and there are lots at this time of year) and the grass just looked so inviting and lush, that I took me shoes off. It was lovely ... a little cool but refreshing, and so very soft underfoot. It helped me see that the smallest everyday pleasures are so easily overlooked ....
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
I was particularly pleased with the oval embellishment, where the central space for a stone was empty. I painted it blue inside then added layers of Glossy Accents, and now it looks like a proper stone!
I'm looking forward to recording lots of learning with this, and hopefully will be sharing some of the pages I make. Another heirloom for my daughters to inherit.....
Friday, 28 August 2009
I didn't buy any fabric (I prefer to support my local shop) but I invested in a few patterns, and this was one of them. It's really for a wall quilt but I increasingly prefer what I make to be useful so I changed it into a pair of cushions. I love these checked "homespun" fabrics, and anyone who's ever seen my scrapbooking knows that I'm crazy about buttons, so I put plenty on my cushions. You'd think they might be a bit lumpy to lean on, but extensive testing has revealed that this is NOT the case ...
I'm still writing my book but have promised myself some creative time every day as well. I've been making a mini book today, and making a friend's curtains. Oddly enough, after stressing out about DD3 coming home to live, she's gone away for the holiday weekend and I miss her! No pleasing some people ....
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
My middle daughter rang up last night to tell me that she entered a piece of writing in an international competition and has just heard she is in the last 10!! Such a wonderful piece of affirmation for her, she says she feels like she's won just with that news. So happy for her.
Thursday, 20 August 2009
PS For all of you who seem a bit disappointed that angels aren't girls ... can I point out that only four angels are named in the bible Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Uriel!! I rest my case!
Sunday, 16 August 2009
This is the latest page from a journal project I'm working on - and hope to share with you one day when it's ready. I'm writing out an A4 "thinking prompt" for each page (this is page 5), and it is all about exploring your art and what it means to you.
This particular page deals with what I really like, what presses my buttons, so of course there's a lot of brown vintage in there. The crackle background is something I really love, and of course there's tickets, butterflies, gold wings, old photos, gold shades .... you can write your own list I'm sure!!
It would be good to know how many of you might be interested in taking part (if I ever get the journal finished!). It might spur me on ...
A number of you have asked what the book I'm writing is about? Well, it's set in a flu pandemic, and the main character sees an angel ...
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Seriously, it's a great job at the same salary she got in the city, working for the regional director of a charity which organises home nursing care for the terminally ill. Something to get her teeth into.
Sorry if my blog isn't what it used to be, but I'm writing a book, and resent the time spent away from it even to make art! Yes really!! I always thought it would be a chore to sit down and write but actually I can't wait to get back to it ....
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Friday, 7 August 2009
I was trying to get back into the zone of putting real symbolism into ATCs so there's a lot of layers in this. I used a scrap of really interesting paper for the background and added the green spiky bit. I was thinking about it as a dagger point to symbolise the dreadful car accident she had in her youth. When I stamped the roughly stitched band along the bottom I was thinking about the many operations she endured, and the prison her body became - hence the padlock. But perhaps her art wouldn't have flowered as it did without those experiences, so I gave her a crown because she was a princess! It is available to swap ....
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Then - I don't know what happened - I just started to doodle on it, and I have to say I rather like the result! It could just be that my brain is responding oddly to being tired, or (and I hope this is the case) I may be exploring something new. Who cares? I'm just gonna enjoy myself!
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
I know it probably doesn't seem terribly exciting to you, but I am so pleased that I actually made some ATCs yesterday! The thing is although I usually love doing them, and made far more than I ever managed to trade, I'd sort of stopped dead. Don't know why, it just happened ... and I missed it! So I was delighted when I found myself able to sit down and just make some ...
I seem to have been having a funny five minutes with the green one, and not quite sure if the lower pink one works - I had 3 goes at that one!! Anyway if you like any of them, how would you like to do a trade??
Friday, 17 July 2009
This is the piece I've been working on for some time, but I couldn't show you before because it's part of the new Awfully Big Art Adventure challenge to do a bird related piece. Years ago I bought this birdcage in a hardware store, and have been waiting for inspiration to strike ever since. It's original colour was a rather nasty attempt at verdigris, so I spray painted it cream.
I antiqued it a little using brown chalk inks, and added a few gold highlights. I also made a template for the base which I covered in cream and gold paper. The nest with the eggs in the base was an Etsy purchase, which I absolutely love, and is completely made of felt. I wanted ivy to trail artistically down the cage, and it took me a long time to figure out how to do this.
I found an ivy leaf image on the internet and pasted it into a Word document, making different sizes of leaf. Then I backed each sheet with dark green card, cutting out each individual leaf, rubbing dark green chalk ink along the edge to get rid of the white paper edge. I wanted to seal the leaves so each side got a coat of Mod Podge. You're beginning to see why this project took so long aren't you?
It was a real labour of love to stick each leaf on individually, and to try and layer different sizes to get the trailing effect I was after. There were some metal "branches" on the mesh of the cage (which opens from the top) so I painted these a soft green and added a few flowers.
I added a perch for the bird - who is NOT hand-made but another internet purchase. I would be ashamed to show you my dreadful attempts at bird-making, which is clearly not my forte!!
I'm planning to hang this piece from the ceiling by a chain, but I'm not completely sure that it's finished. I have it in mind to make some dangly pieces to hang from the perch, but I haven't designed them in my head yet!
A scrolled banner behind the bird says "I know why the caged bird sings" which is a poem by Maya Angelou, and also the title of her autobiography.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Monday, 13 July 2009
This is my youngest daughter's room, empty because it's awaiting her return home tomorrow. She's moving back in and I feel very mixed about it - scared mostly. We have a fabulous relationship that is a delight to me, and I'm afraid that living together again might spoil it? I should explain that she's 25 and has lived away from home for many years, with a brief return 3 years ago between university and the big city.
She said to me "Mum I can't seem to get ahead - all the money I earn goes on rent and travel, and I never get to clear my overdraft, and I'm so tired of it". So she's coming home to live with us, looking for a job and a chance to clear her debts and start over. I'm proud of her for making this brave decision.
Since my mother in law lives with us it's not as if she'll be invading our privacy, it may even turn out to be a wonderful new stage in our lives. So why do I feel so scared?
Monday, 6 July 2009
While on holiday I bought a book about doodling, and this is the first layout in which I've tried to use the techniques. I love to scrapbook and always make an album of our trips. On this occasion what I wanted to record was the tropical storm which hit in the first few days. If you look closely you'll see I really wasn't exaggerating!!
I really like this style, which works for a sort of fun and funky look, and have used it on a couple of other layouts since. It also has the advantage of being very cheap! In case you're wondering, the arrows are an Autumn Leaves stamp set, and I cut the titles on my Cricut machine.
Thursday, 2 July 2009
I am surprised and delighted to have got the quilt this far - its only about poster size, intended as a wall hanging. It certainly wasn't the small easy beginners project I'd envisaged!
I've been attempting to do free quilting in the green border but it isn't going very well at all - it is quite hard to do, but the problem I've been experiencing is that I keep getting a long "jumped" stitch and I don't know why.
Anyway, I AM working on an altered art project too, but it's for the ABAA Challenge so you can't see it yet ....